Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pericles' Funeral Oration

Delivered at the Keramikos, the cemetery at Athens, in the shadow of the Parthenon:

We have a form of government, not fetched by imitation from the laws of our neighbouring states; (nay, we are rather a pattern to others, than they to us); which, because in the administration it hath respect not to a few, but to the multitude, is called a democracy. Wherein, though there be an equality amongst all men in point of law for their private controversies; yet in conferring of dignities one man is preferred before another to public charge, and that according to the reputation, not of his house, but of his virtue; and is not put back through poverty for the obscurity of his person, as long as he can do good service to the commonwealth. And we live not only free in the administration of the state, but also one with another void of jealousy touching each other’s daily course of life; not offended at any man for following his own humour, nor casting on any man censorious looks, which though they be no punishment, yet they grieve. So that conversing one with another for the private without offence, we stand chiefly in fear to transgress against the public; and are obedient always to those that govern and to the laws, and principally to such laws as are written for protection against injury, and such unwritten, as bring undeniable shame to the transgressors.
--Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War(Thomas Hobbes trans.)
It just now occurred to me that a suitable translation of "Keramikos" would be "Potter's Field."  But cf. link.

1 comment:

dilbert dogbert said...

Forgot to tell you to check out Haralambos, a commenter at Calculated Risk. He is an American living in Greece who comments on the Greece situation. You two might get together and knock back a few.